Children's epilepsy resource for Clinicians

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Levetiracetam

 

Usage:

  • Levetiracetam has a broad efficacy profile and can be useful in multiple seizure types (focal, generalised, myoclonic). 
  • Overall, side-effect profile is good, with few drug interactions. 
  • Its PBS indication is for add-on therapy rather than first-line therapy (e.g. focal seizures failing other drugs). 
  • It has been used (off-label) in neonates and young children.

 

NOTABLE Side Effects:

  • Drowsiness or somnolence.
  • Disturbed behaviour, agitation or emotional lability, or mood changes can occur. Aggressiveness may be as frequent as 1 in 5.
  • Drug withdrawal must be strongly considered if suicidal ideation occurs. 
  • Rash is uncommon.
  • Rarely, a neutropenia, thrombocytopenia or liver dysfunction may occur.
  • All anticonvulsants are potentially teratogenic and this is often dose related (see section: Pregnancy and AEDs)
  • For a complete list of adverse effects, appropriate formularies should be consulted.

 

Dose:

  • The initiation and escalation dose depends upon age, weight, syndrome, seizure frequency and intensity, and side effect profile.
  • Unfortunately, a one dose regime does not fit all. A Paediatric Neurologist should be consulted if there is uncertainty.
  • Using intravenous formulation, levetiracetam can be used in emergency situations, e.g. status epilepsy. Similar dosage is used for intravenous administration if patient is already on oral levetiracetam.

 

A commonly used regime is below:

  • Target dose 20-40mg/kg/day in two divided doses. Higher doses may be used (for example up to 60mg/kg).
  • Start 10-20mg/kg/day in two divided doses, increasing each 2 weeks by 10mg/kg/day.
  • Dosages per kilogram can only be used in children of weight approximately up to 30-40kgs. Consult appropriate formularies for higher weights and in the adult range.
  • These dosages are only a guideline and appropriate formularies should be consulted as needed. 

 

Preparations:

  • Oral solution 100mg/ml or Tablet 250mg, 500mg, 1,000mg. 
  • There is an intravenous form. 

 

Monitoring and Levels:

  • No drug level monitoring is currently available.

 

Drug Interactions:

  • There are minimal drug interactions.

 

 

MIMS

PBS

 

Parent Handout

 

This website was created in March 2012. This page was last modified in December 2017.